Tuesday, May 1, 2018
- Buoy 106 (Waimea): Seas were 5.9 ft @ 9.9 secs with swell 4.5 ft @ 10.0 secs from 343 degrees.
- Buoy 46025 (Catalina RDG): Seas were 4.6 ft @ 6.7 secs with swell 3.4 ft @ 6.3 secs from 264 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 14-16 kts. Water temperature NA. At Ventura (Buoy 111) swell was 3.4 ft @ 9.9 secs from 268 degrees. At Santa Monica (028) swell was 4.2 ft @ 6.3 secs from 266 degrees. At Camp Pendleton (043) swell was 2.6 ft @ 6.5 secs from 265 degrees. Southward at Pt Loma (191) swell was 5.7 ft @ 7.4 secs from 287 degrees.
- Buoy 46012 (Half Moon Bay)/029 (Pt Reyes): Seas were 10.4 ft @ 10.0 secs with swell 7.7 ft @ 10.2 secs from 312 degrees. Wind at the buoy was northwest at 21-25 kts. Water temp 52.9 degs.
See Hi-Res Buoy Dashboards (bottom of the page)
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
Surf Heights for Hawaii should be consider 'Hawaiian Scale' if period exceeds 14 secs.
On Tuesday (5/1) in North and Central CA local north windswell was hitting with waves head high to 1 ft overhead and a bit lumpy and soft though local wind was calm early. Protected breaks were chest high on the sets and reasonably clean but with some warble intermixed. At Santa Cruz surf was waist high or so on the sets and clean and short and soft. In Southern California up north surf was waist high plus and warbled even though local wind was calm early. In North Orange Co local northwest windswell was hitting producing waves at waist to chest high and textured from southerly wind. South Orange Country's best breaks were waist high and warbled wonky mess. In North San Diego surf was waist to chest high on the sets and warbled and junky and soft. Hawaii's North Shore was getting residual local north swell with set waves head high and clean and lined up when they come. The South Shore was thigh to waist high and clean. The East Shore was getting east windswell at waist to chest high and reasonably clean with only a light northeast breeze early.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
On Tuesday (5/1) local north windswell was hitting California. Residual swell from a gale previously north of Hawaii was still hitting but on it's way down. A small gale lifted northeast from under New Zealand on Tues-Wed (4/25) producing a tiny area of 32 ft seas. Small swell is poised to hit Hawaii. Another modest system developed in the deep Southeast Pacific on Sat-Sun (4/29) with up to 33 ft seas aimed east. Beyond in the North Pacific a small gale is forecast northeast of Hawaii on Sun-Mon (5/7) with 24-25 ft seas aimed south. Down south a small gale is projected developing in the upper latitudes of the South Pacific on Sat-Sun (5/6) pushing northeast with up to 40 ft seas over a small area. So there's some hope.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
On Tuesday AM (5/1) the jetstream was mostly consolidated pushing east off North Japan tracking east-northeast tracking over the North Dateline region and then over the Eastern Aleutians and into Alaska with winds up to 120 kt in one pocket and otherwise less. Some energy leached off the main flow west of the dateline falling southeast and then east over Hawaii and into Baja. No troughs were indicated and no support for gale development suggested. Over the next 72 hours no real change is forecast until Fri (5/4) when a new trough is to be developing in the Northwestern Gulf falling southeast and being fed by 170 kts winds getting pinched and diving to a point in the Central Gulf. Beyond 72 hours starting Sat (5/5) the trough is to continue and steep if not almost pinched reaching to a point 900 nmiles north of Hawaii being fed by 150 kts winds forming a steep energetic trough possibly supportive of gale or low pressure development. That trough is to push east and fade into Sunday evening (5/6) then becoming almost cutoff in the Central Gulf and continuing easing east into Tues (5/8) being fed by 90-110 kt winds offering limited support for low pressure development.
On Tuesday AM (5/1) residual swell from a gale that developed north of Hawaii over the weekend was fading in the Islands (see North Hawaii Gale below). Otherwise local north windswell was hitting exposed breaks in North and Central CA.
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast. And north winds currently blowing along the North Ca coast are to be fading and gone by mid-day Wed (5/2) with no windswell being generated.
North Hawaii Gale
starting Fri PM (4/27) a gale started developing 900 nmiles north of Hawaii with 35 kt north winds and seas building from 26 ft at 36N 162W aimed south. On Sat AM (4/28) 40 kt north winds had built in coverage aimed directly at Kauai with 27 ft seas over a small area aimed south at 34N 163W. In the evening 35-40 kt north winds to be falling south with seas 24 ft at 31N 162W aimed a bit west of the Islands. The gale is to fade while falling south Sun AM (4/29) with 30-35 kt northeast winds and seas fading from 23 ft at 32N 162W targeting Hawaii well. Swell expected for Hawaii.
Hawaii: Residuals on Tues AM (5/1) fading from 4.5 ft @ 10 secs (4.5 ft). Swell Direction: 345 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday AM (5/1) high pressure at 1030 mbs was well off the Oregon coast ridging east towards North CA generating a pressure gradient and north winds at 30 kts along the North CA Coast and 25 kts for Central CA early. The gradient is to be fading Wed (5/2) with 10-15 kts northwest winds early for Central CA fading to 10 kts later and 25+ kts for North CA early fading to 15-20 kts later. Thurs (5/3) weak high pressure is to be well off Pt Conception resulting in light northwest winds at 10 kts for the entire coast of North and Central CA most of the day and holding Friday into early Sat AM (5/5). But the high is to be moving closer with north winds building to 15 kts along the entire North and Central Coast late afternoon. Sunday (5/6) north winds to hold at 15 kts for all of North and Central CA and up to 20 kts for Pt Conception early. Monday more of the same is forecast but with the gradient fading on Tues (5/8) as low pressure moves closer to the coast. North winds for North and Central CA forecast at 10-15 kts holding all day.
On Tuesday (5/1) small swell from a tiny gale south of New Zealand was poised to arrive in Hawaii (see Small New Zealand Gale below).
Over the next 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Small New Zealand Gale
A tiny gale developed well south of New Zealand on Mon AM (4/23) starting to generate 40 kt southwest winds. In the evening 40 kt southwest winds were lifting northeast producing a small area of 28 ft seas at 60S 162E. On Tues AM (4/24) the fetch continued lifting northeast at 35-40 kts with 30 ft seas at 57S 172E. The gale faded in the evening with winds dropping from 35 kts and seas fading from 28 ft at 55S 179W.
Hawaii: Possible small swell pushing northeast arriving late on Tues (5/1) at 1.0 ft @ 17-18 secs (1.5-2.0 ft). Swell building on Wed (5/2) to 1.3 ft @ 15-16 secs (2.0 ft). Swell fading Thurs (5/3) from 1.4 ft @ 14 secs (2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 197 degrees.
South Pacific Gale
A gale developed in the deep Central South Pacific on Fri PM (4/27) with 40 kt west winds falling southeast starting to produce 30 ft seas over a tiny area just north of the Ross Ice Shelf at 66S 163W. On Sat AM (4/28) 40 kt west winds were pushing east with the gale itself now tracking east building seas to 32 ft at 66S 149W. In the evening a broad area of 40+ kt southwest winds were pushing east fast with 32 ft seas at 66S 135W. The gale is to be fading fast Sun AM (4/29) on the edge of the SCal swell window with 35 kt west-southwest winds and 30 ft seas at 66S 122W. In the evening the gale was east of the California swell window with 30 kt southwest winds and 25 ft seas fading at 64S 110W. Low odds of small sideband swell radiating north towards California.
South CA: Expect swell arrival on Mon (5/7) building to 1.1 ft @ 17-18 secs late (2.0 ft). Swell building slightly on Tues (5/8) pushing 1.2 ft @ 16 secs 1.5-2.0 ft). Swell Direction: 190 degrees
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours some sort of a low pressure/gale is to be developing in the Central Gulf of Alaska on Sun AM (5/6) with 30-35 kts north winds and seas possibly building. By evening 40 kt north winds are to be building targeting just east of the Big Island of Hawaii with 25 ft seas at 34N 153W aimed south. On Mon AM (5/7) the gale is to start lifting north with 30-35 kts south winds and seas fading from 18 ft at 30N 153W targeting the Big Island. In the evening fetch is to hold position and strength with seas rebuilding to barely 20 ft over a tiny area at 34N 147W aimed southeast. The gale is to fade from there. Low odds of any of this materializing as described above at this early date.
Beyond 72 hours a gale is forecast developing in the upper latitudes of the Central South Pacific on Sat AM (5/5) producing 40-45 kt south winds with seas building from 32 ft at 47S 151W. In the evening south winds to build to 50 kts over a tiny area aimed north with 38 ft seas building at 44S 145W. On Sun AM fetch is to be fading from 45 kts with 40 ft seas fading over a tiny area at 40S 140W. In the evening this system is to be fading out with residual 35 kts south winds and seas fading from 30 ft way up at 34S 134W. Something to monitor.
More details to follow...
Slow Steady Warming in Nino3.4 Continues - Not Neutral Yet
The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equator it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slackening if not an outright reversing trade winds while enhancing precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet, though most noticeable in the Pacific. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. Prolonged and consecutive Active MJO Phases in the Pacific help support the formation of El Nino. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. Wind anomalies in the Kelvin Wave Generation Area (KWGA) are key for understanding what Phase the MJO is in over the Pacific. The KWGA is located on the equator from 135E-170W and 5 degs north and south (or on the equator from New Guinea east to the dateline). West wind anomalies in the KWGA suggest the Active Phase of the MJO in the Pacific, and east anomalies suggests the Inactive Phase. In turn the Active Phase strengthens and the Inactive Phase weakens the jetstream, which in turn enhances or dampens storm production respectively in the Pacific.The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
Overview: La Nina started developing in early 2016, but westward displaced and generally weak. And by March 2017, it was gone with suspicious warming developing along South America and over the Galapagos to a point south of Hawaii. By May the atmosphere returned to a neutral configuration but then in July east anomalies started building in the KWGA and have not stopped, with cold water upwelling over the the Nino1.2 and 3.4 areas, indicative of La Nina. A double dip La Nina was in control and continued through the Winter of 2017-2018. But warming started building along the South and Central American coast in early March 2018 associated with 2 Upwelling Kelvin Waves, suggesting the demise of La Nina was at hand.
KWGA/Equatorial Surface Wind Analysis & Short-term Forecast:
Analysis (TAO Buoys): As of Monday (5/1) 5 day average winds were from the east over the bulk of the equatorial Pacific and calm over the Kelvin Wave Generation Area. Anomalies were neutral over the equatorial East Pacific and light westerly over the KWGA.
1 Week Forecast (GFS Model): (5/1) Modest west anomalies were over the whole of the KWGA with east anomalies east of the dateline to Ecuador and not in the KWGA. This pattern is to hold for the coming week through the end of the model run on 5/8 though westerly anomalies are to weaken some. Not a bad pattern with persistent weak westerly now locked from the dateline and points west of there.
Kelvin Wave Generation Area wind monitoring model: West and East
Longer Range MJO/WWB Projections:
OLR Models: (4/30) A dead neutral MJO pattern was over the West Pacific in the core of the KWGA. The statistical model depicts a neutral MJO signal holding in the KWGA for the next 15 days. The dynamic model depicts a modest Inactive/Dry pattern building over the far West Pacific at day 8 and moving into the core of the KWGA at day 15.
Phase Diagrams 2 week forecast (ECMF and GEFS): (5/1) The ECMF model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO was very weak over the West Pacific. It is to track east steadily while remaining weak over the next 15 days eventually moving over North Africa and to the East Indian Ocean at the end of the model run. The GEFS model depicts effectively the same thing though a little bit stronger.
40 day Upper Level Model: (5/1) This model depicts a weak Active Phase is moving through the West Pacific and is to be easing east to the East Pacific and into Central America on 5/21. A modest Inactive Phase is to follow in the West Pacific starting 5/9 moving to the East Pacific on 5/30 while a new extremely weak Active Phase builds in the West Pacific starting 5/23 and moving through the East Pacific into Central America at the end of the model run on 6/10. This model runs about 1-2 weeks ahead of what happens at the surface.
CFS Model - 3 month (850 mb wind): (5/1) This model depicts the Active Phase of the MJO is developing over the West KWGA with weak to modest west anomalies continuing in control in the KWGA until the Active Phase fades 5/15 with west anomalies continuing over the entirety of the KWGA. A neutral pattern is to hold until a weak Inactive Phase develops over the KWGA 5/27-6/7 with weak east anomalies forecast in the KWGA. Perhaps a stronger Active Phase to develop 6/9 holding through 7/13 with weak to modest west anomalies strengthening and solid in the KWGA. The Inactive Phase is to try and develop after that but very weak with west anomalies still in control of the KWGA through the end of the model run on 7/27. The low pass filter indicates the low pressure bias over the bulk of the KWGA has pushed just east of the dateline and is to push east steadily from here moving east of the KWGA on 5/7. The high pressure bias is already east of the KWGA focused mainly a few hundred nmiles east of California on the equator. This is hugely good news. Basically the La Nina bias is to be gone in 1 week. The expectation is that the atmosphere and ocean will begin to be coupled over the next 3 months in a more favorable configuration for storm production in the Pacific. And the low pressure bias is to only strengthen steadily over the KWGA into July.
CFSv2 3 month forecast for 850 mb winds, MJO, Rossby etc - Alternate link
Subsurface Waters Temps
TAO Array: (5/1) Today in the far West Pacific water temps are 29-30 degs at 160E. The 28 deg isotherm line has moved significantly eastward to 170W from 75 meters down to the surface now with fingers to 167W. This is a significant development. The 24 deg isotherm was building in thickness while making significant eastward progress at 100 meters deep at 140W and now to 50 meters deep at 120W rising to 25 meters into Ecuador. Anomaly wise in the East Pacific negative temperatures are gone as warm waters from a Kelvin Wave are building in from the west at depth. Warm anomalies were holding in the West at +3.0 degs at 165W down 150 meters pushing east with +2 deg anomalies reaching east to 140W down 100 meters and +1 degs at 100W down 25 meters. We suspect these warm waters are starting to erupt at the surface from 100W to 130W. The hi-res GODAS animation posted 4/23 depicts warm water in the west at +4.0 degs at 170W with a river of warm water at +1 degs pushing east to 105W with the leading edge of that mass starting to touch the surface near 100W. The last of the La Nina cool pool was holding in one shallow pocket in the East Pacific along the coast of Ecuador and being squeezed to the surface by the large approaching Kelvin Wave. The GODAS animation appears to be 1 week behind the TAO data.
Sea Level Anomalies: (4/23) Positive anomalies were over the West equatorial Pacific at +5-10 cms centered at 180W with continuous +5 cm anomalies reaching east under the equator to 100W. Negative anomalies were east of there at -5 cms from the Galapagos to Ecuador the down along the coast of Peru. The La Nina cool pool is all but gone.
Surface Water Temps: The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. All data is from blended infrared and microwave sensors.
Hi-res Nino1.2 & 3.4: (4/30) The latest images (1.2 3.4) indicate a pocket of cool anomalies weakening along the immediate coast of Peru reaching northwest up to Ecuador and out to the Galapagos but no further. Of much interest is a tiny area of warm anomalies building on the oceans surface on the equator just west of the Galapagos at 98W with a broad area of less warm water off Peru (90W) out to 110W. Neutral anomalies were west of there. This is likely the start of a defined eruption point for a large Kevin Wave directly below. Warm anomalies were also stable along the immediate coast of Central America and Mexico reaching west to the dateline aligned along and north of the equator. There was no clear indication of La Nina anymore in the oceans surface.
Hi-res 7 day Trend (4/30): A neutral to weak warm trend was in control of the equatorial Pacific from the Galapagos to the dateline. A small pocket of warming was developing over and east of the Galapagos. The breach point for a large Kelvin Wave was estimated between 90-100W on the equator.
Hi-res Overview: (4/30) A tiny pocket of cool water was fading fast along the immediate coast of Peru up to Ecuador reaching west to the Galapagos and ending there. Weak warming was further off the coast of Peru and reaching north to the equator at 100W. Warming was also along Ecuador and Central America filling the area from the equator northward up into Mexico and east over the entirety of the equatorial Pacific. The La Nina core cool pocket was shrinking and warming some limited to a broad pocket south of the equator from 105W to barely the dateline looking like a Modoki La Nina (meaning the core of La Nina is advecting west and dissipating). Overall the cooling pattern is steadily loosing density and drifting west.
Nino1.2 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/1) Today's temps were rising steadily at -0.654 and have slowly rising over the past 3 weeks. Previously temps rose to -0.069 on 4/3 but crashed the week after that to -1.9 degs on 4/10. Prior to that temps had fallen hard to -2.364 degs on 3/25, the coldest of any point in this La Nina. Previous cool peaks were on 3/12 at -1.5 degs retreating from the peak of the first Kelvin Wave hitting at +0.898 degrees on 2/28. Overall temps had been steadily marching upwards since late December. Temps in this area bottomed out on 12/23 at -2.1 degs, a third near peak negative reading. The lowest point so far in this La Nina was -2.248 degs reached on 11/5. And that low point was lower than the previous coldest point reached on 10/11 at -1.9 degs.
Nino 3.4 Daily CDAS Index Temps: (5/1) Today temps were rising again to -0.254 degs. Temps have been steadily rising since 3/27 when they were about -1.2 degs. A weak surge in temps occurred 1/12-1/28 reaching up to -0.600 deg range. But since then temps backed off some. Previously a peak low was observed on 1/10-1/12 to -1.577. On (12/7) temps hit a previous record low at -1.219, just below the previous coldest peak so far this La Nina on 11/22 at -1.156. And the third previous low peak was reached at -1.1 on 11/23. The long arc suggests perhaps a rising pattern. La Nina is in control, but it's taking a hit.
CFSV2 Forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies
SST Anomaly Projections
CFSv2 Uncorrected Data (5/1) The forecast depicts temps bottomed out at -0.75 in Nov 2017 and have been slowly rising since, up to -0.5 in mid-March and -0.35 in early April. They are forecast to continue a steady increase from here forward to neutral in early June, hovering there then starting to rise into the late Fall to +0.45 degs in late Dec. This suggests the peak of La Nina occurred in 2017 and is to continue to fade through the Summer of 2018 before turning weakly positive in the late Fall. This model is now falling inline with all the others suggesting La Nina is to die this Spring.
IRI Consensus Plume: The mid-April Plume depicts temps at -0.2 degs and are to slowly rise, to +0.0 in May and +0.4 in August and +0.8 in November. See chart here - link. It looks like La Nina is fading out and a weak El Nino might develop. The CFSv2 is in the low end of that pack.
Atmospheric Coupling (Indicating the presence of El Nino in the atmosphere driven by the ocean):
Southern Oscillation Index (5/1): The daily index was rising today to 0.32. The 30 day average was falling some at 3.14 suggesting the Inactive Phase of the MJO was in control. The 90 day average was falling some at 1.83 suggesting a neutral ENSO pattern biased towards La Nina.
ESPI (like SOI but based on satellite confirmed precipitation. Positive and/or rising is good, negative and/or falling is bad): (5/1) Today the index has fallen some to -0.55 down from -0.42 on 4/28, down from -0.35 on 4/26, but up from -1.02 on 4/5 and up from -1.13 on 3/27. Still, today's value is less than the -0.33 reading in late Feb, but was up from -1.11 on 1/29. The trend suggests La Nina is not gone, but possibly also reflects the last of the cool subsurface water being squeezed to the surface from an approaching large Kelvin Wave. Last years La Nina reached -1.94 on 11/2/16 and then fell to -2.20 on 6/28/17. It held pretty negative through Jan 2018. This index is a forerunner of what happens in the ocean by 2-3 months in developing El Nino and La Nina events. The goal is to have it rise to at least -0.5 before a significant change could be suggested.
Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The PDO is weakly positive, even though La Nina is in play.
Per NOAAs index recent values: April 2017=+0.53, May=+0.29, June=+0.21, July= -0.50, Aug= -0.62, Sept = -0.25, Oct= -0.61, Nov = -0.45, Dec= -0.13, Jan 2018=+0.29, Feb= -0.10, Mar= -0.51. This continues to look like the warm phase of the PDO, even with La Nina, because the warm PDO appears to be dampening the effects of La Nina. No consistently solid negative readings have occurred since Feb 2014
The Washington EDU index (Jan-Dec): Jan 2017 = +0.77, Feb = +0.70, Mar = +0.74, April=+1.12, May=+0.88, June=+0.79, July=+0.10, Aug=+0.09, Sept = +0.32, Oct=+0.05, Nov = +0.15, Dec = +0.50, Jan +0.70. Feb +0.37. No negative readings have occurred since Dec 2013
The PDO turned from a 16 year negative run (Jan 98-Feb 2014) in early 2014 and has been positive ever since (other than a few months of negative readings in Fall 2016, the result of a turn towards La Nina). Looking at the long term record, it is premature to conclude that we have in-fact turned from the negative phase (La Nina 'like') to the positive phase (El Nino 'like'), but the data strongly suggests that could be a possibility. By the time it is confirmed (4-5 years out), we will be well into it.
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table